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Kiss Me Kate (1975)

Kiss Me Kate

An Oxford Playhouse Co. production of a musical by Cole Porter, performed during a regional tour and at Oxford Playhouse (late 1974 - early 1975).


Kiss Me Kate focuses on the personal lives of a group of performers involved in a production of The Taming of the Shrew.

Fred Graham and his ex-wife, Lilli Vanessi, are thrown together when the pair are cast as Petruchio and Katherina in Shakespeare's comedy.  Just like their characters, Fred and Lilli bicker and fight, despite obviously being in love. 

Lois Lane, playing Katherina's younger sister, Bianca, has a similarly tumultuous relationship with co-star Bill Calhoun, who has been cast as Bianca's suitor, Lucentio. 

Romantic entanglements 'off-stage' (in Kiss Me Kate) mirror events 'on-stage' (in The Taming of the Shrew) in this modern battle of the sexes.


Lilli Vanessi/Katherina ... Amy Nissen
Lois Lane/Bianca ... Zoe Wanamaker
Fred Graham/Petruchio ... Jim Smilie
Hattie ... Veronica Clifford

Cast also included: Colin Bennett, Jacqueline Currie, Carolyn Hamilton, Harry Hankin, Geoffrey Hutchings, Neil McCaul, Patrick Newell, Holly Palance, John Rogan, and Stephen Temperley


Musical director: Peter Pontzen


Zoe clearly enjoys the challenges of performing musicals.  'A musical for me has everything I like about the theatre: singing, dancing, the lot.  It also demands the most of your talent', she explained, shortly after taking part in this production of Kiss Me Kate (see 'I Yearn To Be So Free and Comfortable on That Stage' interview). 

Kiss Me Kate, presented by the Oxford Playhouse Company, is Zoe's third musical, following appearances in Guys and Dolls (1972) and Cabaret (1974).


Kiss Me, Kate & Anything Goes: Vocal Selections by Cole Porter (lyrics and musical score for some of the songs)

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